Review: “Lucky Bastard,” Joshua James

Pros: The plot thickens!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Joshua James’ Lucky Bastard: Lucky’s Marines | Book Eight picks up immediately after book seven. Our heroes (Lucky, Malby, Dabs, Jiang) plus the body they’re guarding (Queen-in-waiting Anna) and a few others are waiting for an evacuation from the planet’s surface. Unfortunately their ride is overdue, and they have an unexpected ally show up: one of Emperor April’s android duplicates, named Dena. When they make it into orbit they discover that everything has gone to hell, and pirate Crad is still after Lucky. For some reason, however, April doesn’t seem to think Crad is a danger to the Empire, despite the ridiculous amount of firepower and latest-and-greatest tech he has. What schemes is she up to this time? And how will Lucky survive her latest agenda?

It was actually kind of nice having a break from April’s paranoid, twisty shenanigans in the last book, because they can get twisted indeed, and sometimes I legit have trouble following them. But it’s also brought back very well in this volume. Her secrets and schemes made more sense to me than usual. We’re also getting to see April change a bit, which, given her extreme change in power and position, makes perfect sense.

Anna gets her due in this volume. She was mostly a royal pain-in-the-ass to be rescued last time. This time she’s developing a somewhat more complex (less na├»ve) morality, and she’s showing that she isn’t just a distressed damsel. Again, given the extreme change in her circumstances, this is entirely believable!

Something wacky is going on with Crad involving the Hate, which is turning Lucky’s world upside down. Crad has also hinted that he knows a secret or two that Lucky will want to know about. Lucky’s background has seemed set for a little while now, so the hint that there’s something more going on is potentially very interesting!

As usual, I’m giving you a content note for gore and hyper-violence. There’s a ton of action in here, and it gets quite imaginative and exciting.

I love these books, and can’t wait for the next one!

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